A $5.2 million gift from Mike, Class of 1979, and Cindy Ginn Biondi, Class of 1980, enabled major renovations to Red Rolfe Field with a new ballpark in time for the start of the 2009 baseball season.
The Michael J. 1979 and Cynthia Ginn 1980 Biondi Ballpark — also known as Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park — fulfills a vision Mike, who covered first base for the Big Green in the late 1970s, had several years ago. A self-described baseball fanatic who loved nothing more than to play the game with his four sons, Mike died tragically of sudden cardiac arrest on November 12, 2007. The conceptual plans for the new ballpark were finalized just before he passed away.
"This gift has special meaning for all of us who have had the privilege to work closely with Cindy and Mike Biondi," said former Dartmouth President James Wright. "Always concerned with the welfare of current students, always ready to lend their time and expertise, they have led by example. There was no bigger Dartmouth baseball fan — and, of course, Mets fan — than Mike. We're grateful that this gift will have a lasting impact on our student-athletes, the game of baseball at Dartmouth, and the wider community."
Mike Biondi was the Co-Chairman of Investment Banking and a managing director at Lazard, and considered one of the nation's top mergers and acquisition bankers. After Dartmouth, he earned an MBA and JD in the joint-degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. Mike was a former member of the President's Leadership Council, vice-chair of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, and co-chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee.
Cindy Biondi earned an MBA from Wharton after graduating from Dartmouth, and worked as a management consultant in New York. She is a member of the President's Leadership Council at Dartmouth and a vice chair of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. She was formerly a co-chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee, co-chair of the Class of 1980 20th Reunion Giving Committee, and an alumni fund volunteer. She is a director for the Breast Cancer Alliance and the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich.
The Biondis' philanthropy to Dartmouth includes the Cynthia and Michael Biondi 1979 Family Fund for Scholarship and generous gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund, Athletic Sponsor Program, and Friends of Baseball.
Renovations included construction of a new synthetic FieldTurf surface, permanent seating for 650 spectators with more than 1,000 temporary seats along the first- and third-base lines, dugouts, batting cages, bullpens, a new scoreboard, press box and landscaping.
"This ballpark will satisfy our programmatic needs, and allow a sport with a storied history at Dartmouth to be as successful as it can be," said Josie Harper, former Director of Athletics and Recreation, prior to the completion of the project. "At the northern-most Ivy League school, the weather isn't always so kind to spring sports. The artificial playing surface will greatly enhance our ability to practice and compete on the field."
Harper’s words proved prophetic during the first four years of competition at the venue. Dartmouth won four Rolfe Division titles and two Ivy League crowns while boasting a 55-7 record on its home field, including a stretch of 28 consecutive victories, the second longest home winning streak in the program’s history.
Robert "Red" Rolfe, Dartmouth Class of 1931, played ten seasons with the New York Yankees and was his alma mater's athletic director from 1954 to 1967.